Butte High eyes State softball tournament

It all comes down to Friday for the Butte High softball team.

The Bulldogs will play Billings Senior in a best-of-three Eastern AA playoff series Friday at Stodden Park. The series will begin at 11 a.m. at Field 1 at Stodden Park and carried live on KBOW (550 AM, 101.5 FM or online).

The game time was moved up an hour because of weather concerns in the afternoon.

The Bulldogs (11-10) overall went 8-4 in Eastern AA play, claiming the third seed in the playoffs. The Broncs, who finished 7-14 overall, are the No. 6 seed.

The Bulldogs went 3-1 against the Broncs in the regular season. That includes a 2-0 record against Senior in conference games.

Butte High beat Senior 11-1 and 13-3 April 10 in Butte. The teams split April 24 in Billings, with the Bulldogs winning the conference game 7-5 and Senior taking the nonconference tilt 18-8.

The Bulldogs enter the playoffs with a .296 batting average and 19 home runs. Senior catcher Maria Michelotti is hitting a team-leading .383, while sophomore Katelyn Alley hit a team-best five home runs.

Senior Amanda Spear, who hit three bombs, takes a .383 average into the post season. Other Bulldogs hitting above .300 are senior Bethany McLean (.368), senior Ashten McCloskey (.329), freshman Kennedi Ferriter (.310).

Senior center fielder Justyce Connole, hit three home runs this season, while Michelotti, McCloskey, and senior Tristan Walks each hit two. McLean and Ferriter also went yard this season.

The Bulldogs will send Kaidy McClafferty to the pitchers circle for at least two starts in the series. The freshman posted a 9-7 record in the regular season, striking out 105 batters in 102 and two thirds innings. McClafferty’s ERA is 2.86.

Fellow freshman Katlyn O’Brien pitched 28 innings of varsity action this season and will likely see time if the series goes three games.

Pitcher Sarah Bonner hit a pair of home runs and registered five RBIs to lead Senior in the win over Butte High in Billings. Payton Meyer went 5 for 5 with three RBIs that game.

The winner advances to the Class AA State tournament, which is May 21-23 in Missoula. The loser calls it a season.

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